BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 20 September, 2002, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
Rwanda troops blamed for killings
Troops board plane
Rwanda has had troops in the east for four years
The Democratic Republic of Congo has accused Rwandan soldiers of killing up to 82 people in fighting which took place in the eastern town of Kindu on Thursday.


Mayi-Mayi are civilians who have been resisting the Rwanda occupation.

Rwandan Information Minister Kikaya Bin Kirubi

Speaking to BBC's Focus on Africa, the Information Minister, Kikaya Bin Kirubi, said Rwandan soldiers opened fire on civilians who were celebrating their departure under the terms of a peace deal.

Earlier reports said the clashes involved warriors of a pro-government militia, the Mayi-Mayi, and rebel troops of the Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy.

Since Tuesday, Rwanda has been pulling troops out of Kindu, the first stage, it says, in a full withdrawal from Congo.

Security

"Mayi-Mayi are civilians who have been resisting the Rwanda occupation, " Mr Kirubi told the BBC, adding that the Kinshasa government fully supported the tribal warriors.

He dismissed claims that the Mayi-Mayi and the town of Kindu posed a threat to the security of Rwanda.

"Kindu is more than 1,000 kilometres from the border with Rwanda - and I can't see how their security will be threatened from Kindu."

BBC's Mark Dummett in Kinshasa says the market town of Kindu has had a precarious existence for the past four years of war.

Several thousand Rwandan and Congolese rebel troops have been based there, while in the surrounding forests, hostile Mayi Mayi warriors who support the Kinshasa government, have been getting stronger and stronger.

They have regularly launched attacks, but have been fought off each time so far.

Gun fire

Earlier accounts of the incident said a group of Mayi Mayi warriors had entered the town to open negotiations with the controlling rebel authorities, but at some point gun-fire broke out.

President Joseph Kabila
Mayi Mayi fighters back President Kabila
Journalists with the Reuters news agency said they saw bare-chested Mayi Mayi fighters wearing tribal charms made from fur and teeth trade heavy machine-gun fire with the rebels.

The journalists heard grenade explosions and saw a Mayi Mayi militiaman shot in the back.

Two rebel soldiers are also believed to have been killed.

Our correspondent says Kindu is now reported to be calm, but it is not clear how the fighting leaves the planned retreat of the Rwandan army from Congo, which is supposed to be completed by the end of next week.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
DRC Information Minister, Kikaya bin Karubi
"We understand what the Mayi Mayi are doing and there's no way we can condemn their actions"
Rwandan spokesman Joseph Bideri on Network Africa
"We have invited observers to ensure we are doing what we promised"

Key stories

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

20 Sep 02 | Africa
19 Sep 02 | Africa
17 Sep 02 | Africa
09 Sep 02 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes